An individual must be 21 years of age or older to foster or adopt a child.

Marital Status

Foster Homes: Married, single, separated, divorced and widowed parents may be licensed. If applicants are married, they must be married for at least one (1) year prior to licensing.
Adoptions: Married, single, divorced, and widowed parents may adopt. It is suggested that couples be married 3 years before adopting.


Must be a legal resident of Forsyth County.


Must be sufficient to meet own needs. Financial statement must be completed for initial licensure and relicensure.
PLEASE NOTE: If you have applied for Emergency Assistance (EA) to help with your rent, lights, foods, etc., from any public or private agency within the last year, you cannot be considered as an applicant for the foster care program. You may apply one year from your last request for Emergency Assistance. The one year waiting period may be extended in some cases.

Criminal History

  • Record Check: Applicants and any household member(s) 16 years of age and older criminal record checks will be obtained by DSS.
  • Fingerprint Check: Applicants and any household member(s) 18 years of age and older MUST OBTAIN FINGERPRINTS, which are checked through FBI and SBI. Forms will be provided by DSS.
  • Sexual offenders registry checked
  • Child abuse registry checked
  • Department of Corrections registry checked
  • An applicant shall not be eligible for licensure if the applicant or any member of the applicant’s household 18 years of age or older refuses to consent to any criminal history check.
  • An applicant may not be eligible for licensure if the licensing authority determines, based on the criminal history, that the applicant or any member of the applicant’s household 18 years of age or older has the following charges and/or convictions: assault charges, drug charges, pattern of deviant behavior, or other charges that deem them unfit to have responsibility for the safety and well being of children.


The State of North Carolina requires thirty (30) hours of pre-service training. An additional 20 hours of training is required biennially (at least 10 hours per year) for relicensure. BOTH HUSBAND AND WIFE MUST COMPLETE ALL TRAINING REQUIREMENTS.

Home Study

Several consultations are required to complete the family assessment. There are minimum quarterly face-to-face contacts by Foster Home Licensing Worker after licensing. In addition, during the Home Study process, the following will also be completed:

  • FIRE INSPECTION: If you live in the city Limits of Winston-Salem, you will be required to pay the $50 initial inspection.
  • MEDICAL EXAMS: Full exams required for each household occupant every 2 years with a TB test (for the adults only) at initial licensure.
  • The Foster Parent’s Agreement, Discipline Policy, & Confidentiality Policy: Must be agreed to and signed biennially by applicant(s).
  • FOSTER PARENT MUST HAVE A WORKING TELEPHONE (that functions without the use of electrical power) AND UTILITIES in the home at all times.
  • REFERENCES: Telephone or written contact with the references as provided by applicant.

Completion of the above licensing requirements does not guarantee that a family will be licensed as foster parents or approved for adoption.